Unless you are a video conferencing or e-commerce company, the reality is that what your business would be worth to a potential buyer today is probably a lot less than it would have been worth to that buyer just a few short months ago.
As an expert in helping companies maximize their value, uncertainty is the greatest threat to value. Throughout my advisory career and as a CEO, there are economic times that have improved the growth of business value, and there have been economic times that have devastated the value of many businesses.
The greatest lesson learned through these times is that during every national or world event that precipitated a change in value, there were companies that became stronger and thus more valuable following the event and there were those companies whose values never came back or did not even survive.
There are arguments being put out there that this event is different…and it is. However, for those of us who have been through many economic crises in the past, we all know every one of the events was different. However, different or not, every one of them has seen improvements in the world and the economy in the long term.
The devastating events produced winners, who came out of the event as valuable and strong as before and in some cases even more valuable. The losers either lost most of their value or may not even have survived to take advantage of the future prosperity. Why? Winners typically came into the downturn stronger and more prepared than those who didn’t make it. But more importantly, it was what they did during the downturn.
Winners of economic downturns often implement innovations that enable them to not only survive, but also prepare and provide traction to seize opportunity in better times. Their innovations may even have given them some positive PR by showcasing leadership during hard times. These winning companies take advantage of the downtime to prepare a plan for their future. That planning enables them to come out of the downturn strong and rolling forward toward increased enterprise value. Whether a company is suffering today or seeing increases in business, they should be planning how they will operate once it’s finally over.
During this crisis, companies with immediate high demand like online shopping and meeting web conferences are doing better than ever. Their enterprise value may even be increasing in unforeseen multiples. Some of these more fortunate companies may sit back and keep doing what they are doing, not preparing for when we return to the “new normal.” The better path as a leader in these unforeseen circumstances would be to utilize this time to analyze what is working in peak growth and what changes should be made to the overall business so that when this is over they come out as strong as possible. Make the blip in upside turn into a positive growth trajectory.
Companies who are struggling today or even have their businesses shut down should also be taking advantage of this unfortunate time to re-examine what their business will have to be like to compete in the post-crisis reality. This is the time for those businesses to plan how they will pivot to new ways of doing business. It will be different, and the winners will be those that get ahead of the curve. Now, not when it’s over.
What you do today during this crisis and in the coming months will define and set your enterprise value for years. By understanding the underlying factors that create value, an economic crisis like this one, as bleak as it might seem sometimes, is often a really good time to work on accelerating a company’s future enterprise value. No matter what the new normal becomes following this crisis, there is one thing will remain the same, as it has after every earlier crisis. Making your business into a standout company, or as we refer to as a “Got to Have Business,” is the foundation for maximizing value.
Take advantage of this time to solidify your foundation of enterprise value through these actions:
- Cement customer relationships through connection and service, even if it does not create current income.
- Increase employee loyalty through honesty, transparency, constant communication, and simple acts of kindness.
- Gain positive internal and external PR by distinctive company actions and initiatives that benefit the community and those in need.
- Improve operational processes and systems by utilizing internal teams to address specific functions within the business.
- Determine possible “new normal” realities after the crisis by analyzing the changes that are occurring now.
- Kick-up the organization’s innovation culture in order to develop those products, services, and methodologies that will leapfrog the company over the competition once the world gets rolling again.
The one thing you cannot do is bury your head in the sand and wait for this all to blow over so that you can get back to doing what you have always done in the way you have always done it. There is not very much value in a company going backwards or worse yet, a company that is no longer in business. Survival and growth and the ultimate value of your company depends on your actions today.
Webinar: Joel and Gary Covert, a highly respected Executive Coach and Advisor, will be hosting a webinar discussing the article and actions steps business owners can take on April 28th from 9-10am PST. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR THE WEBINAR.